Belfast
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Top attractions in Belfast

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The 10 best things to do in Belfast

Belfast's quarters brim with a bevy of cultural attractions, revealing bright and troubled years of history amid a spectrum of art and architecture. Its vibrant music scene will also keep your feet tapping into the wee hours, be it at a modern venue or pub.

Ulster Museum

This top museum's highlight is the Armada Room, which contains the wreck of Girona from 1588, along with treasures, including gold and personal items, from Spanish Armada ships.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

This grand Baroque Revival structure is on the site of the city's former 19th-century Linen Exchange. On St Patrick's day and other dates the façade is illuminated with a variety of coloured floodlights.

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle

Located on Cave Hill, the 3rd Marquess of Donegall commissioned the re-construction of Belfast Castle in the 19th century. Each of the first two castles in the city burned down.

St. Anne's Cathedral

St. Anne's Cathedral

Construction began in 1899 and finished in 1981. At 131 feet, the Spire of Hope was an addition in 2006. You'll find splendid mosaics and stained-glass windows inside.

Grand Opera House
Photo: William Murphy@flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Grand Opera House

The refurbished theater, which opened in 1895, hosts operas, concerts, and musicals. During the years of "the Troubles," bomb explosions damaged it in 1991 and 1993.

Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens

The gardens first opened as a private park in 1828 and then became public in 1895. The Palm House is its most striking feature, due to its cast iron and glass construction.

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Lady Dixon dedicated the park to her late husband in 1959. There are 40,000 roses and the famed Rose Week celebration in summer. There's also a Diana, Princess of Wales garden.

Waterfront Hall

Waterfront Hall

The main auditorium can host opera and musical performances for up to 2,000 people. The copper, domed roof will ultimately turn green, matching that of City Hall's, among others.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Located in the Titanic Quarter and comprising the SSE Arena, Odyssey Pavilion and W5, it's Northern Ireland's top venue for sports, concerts, and comedy shows.

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

Thirty minutes from central Belfast, the Norman castle has stood on the shores of Belfast Lough for 800 years. A tour inside will take you back to medieval times.

Planning Your Belfast Visit

How many days to spend in Belfast?

A four-day tour of the city will allow you to see the sights at a leisurely pace and simply enjoy the rhythm of the city. Add a couple extra days if you plan to make day-trips to the surrounding area, such as Carrickfergus Castle or Giant's Causeway.

Getting around

It's easy to get around the heart of the city and see its top attractions on foot. There is a bus system, called Metro, which runs from 6:00AM - 11:00PM. Donegall Square is the hub of public transport. Taxis are the other option, especially if you miss the last bus.
It's 30 minutes by car to Carrickfergus. There is also rail service from Belfast Central Station, departing on the half hour, and the journey takes just as long.

Where to stay in Belfast

Stay in the city center, for example in Cathedral Quarter, a center of nightlife, restaurants, pubs, and art. Queen's Quarter also has its share of shops, cafes, and bars.

Good to know

  • Language
    English, Irish Gaelic, and Ulster Scots
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • Best time to visit
    The high season is from May to September, when temperatures are warm and fairs, markets, and carnivals are in full swing. Try to visit in May or September if you want the summertime benefits with fewer crowds.

Things to Do in Belfast

Top Attractions in Belfast

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What people are saying about Belfast

Wild Rover Tours is THE way to go to visit the Giant's Causeway

This was an excellent tour with our wonderful tour guide J.P. and driver Paulo. They were very personable and friendly. They shared a lot of fun jokes, legends, and history of Ireland. There seemed to be plenty of time for each stop. My friend and I choose to do the Black Cab Taxi tour and I cannot recommend it enough. It was informative and gave great insight on the history of the area through the eyes of a local. Our next stop was the Giant's Causeway which you cannot miss if you are visiting the Island! There was road construction the day we went and had to take a detour to get to the Causeway. However, due to this we were able to see Dunluce Castle! The Causeway is incredibly beautiful and unlike anywhere else in the world! The next stop at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is phenomenal! The water is a striking combination of cobalt and turquoise blue. You can even see Scotland in the distance. If the weather is fair and you get the opportunity to cross the bridge, do it!

A real eye-opener into life in present-day Belfast

I follow the news and politics closely and like to think I'm up to speed on current affairs within the UK. However, this walking tour was a revelation as to how the different factions in Belfast still live totally separate lives, even though 'The Troubles' are hopefully now consigned to history. This was driven home during the handover at the Peace Line gates, each not willing to enter into the other's community. I had no idea life was still like that. Both guides, of course, gave their respective opinions which reflected their life-long experiences. The Republican guide was a former IRA prisoner, the loyalist a former British soldier. Their respective stories are of necessity grim at times, but if you're remotely interested in the complexities of life in present-day Belfast, this tour is a must.

The highlight of our 3-day trip to Belfast

Both the Republican and the Loyalist guides were very friendly and interesting and provided an unbiased view of their time in their respective communities during the Troubles. If you want to have some idea of what it must have been like during that terrible time forget what you have read in books or newspapers or have seen on television and experience this fascinating tour for yourselves.

Belfast: Political Conflict 3-Hour Walking Tour Reviewed by Peter, 07/02/2019

A worthwhile trip to see the beauty of the Northern Island coastline

The coach trip enabled us to see the beauty of Northern Island coastline in a time limited fashion. The trip had to many activities packed into it and therefore time seemed rushed. Phil our driver and tour guide was courteous friendly and obliging and enjoyed the banter with his captive audience ! It made the trip all the more entertaining

Lovely day, great tour, fantastic driver

My daughter (13) and myself thoroughly enjoyed the tour, plenty of time to see both main natural wonders and walk around at our own pace. Our driver Troy was great, very knowledgeable and fun to listen to. Great craic. Would recommend the tour highly to friends and family.